What’s the new hotness in Hollywood? Turns out it’s Dungeons & Dragons.
If you’ve never played D&D, it’s a game of the imagination where each player controls one person in an imaginary world. One player, the Dungeon Master, portrays the world itself, and all the other people and creatures in it. Your merry crew of fighters, elves, wizards, and thieves goes on adventures to save kingdoms, defeat evil, or maybe just kill bad guys and take their stuff.
For a long time, the game was the height of high nerditry. For example, a possible sign of suicide from a character in Dan Harmon’s Community is that he gives away all his D&D books.
But D&D is no longer the sole province of schlubs like Fat Neil. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dungeons & Dragons has become a hot new pastime for the beautiful people of Hollywood. Silicon Valley star Martin Starr said, “There’s a huge resurgence of nerd culture, especially with the tech boom. If nerds were still poor and living [in] their mothers’, nobody would be paying any attention to Dungeons & Dragons. But nerds rule the world, and D&D is making a big comeback — and I’m excited about it.”
The list of celebrities who play D&D regularly, or have in the past, is as long as your arm. Vin Diesel, Stephen Colbert, Elijah Wood, Iron Man director Jon Favreau, and of course our very own Felicia Day (but you already knew all about that).
Patton Oswald played in a regular game with the Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick. Oswald played a dwarf, Stumphammer, who would drink beer and makeup insulting songs about other characters in the game.
Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff grew up time zones apart, but both played D&D during their formative years. Benioff said, ““I had a regular game with the Feinberg brothers. The whole campaign must have lasted four years. If the scenarios didn’t work and the Feinbergs got bored, I’d need to recalibrate.”
With the game’s mix of acting, writing, and improv, it sharpens the wit, helps players think on their feet, read the room, and become better writers. Dungeons & Dragons is training for the creative class.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Milwaukee native and television genius Dan Harmon
[H]as a regular game with such friends as Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and Paul F. Tompkins (Mr. Show With Bob and David). In fact, Harmon recently began streaming an animated version of his games on Seeso, NBCUniversal’s digital network. The notion that D&D gameplay can draw an audience is being tested increasingly these days, with games being played on podcasts like Nerd Poker and YouTube channels including Nerdist, where Chris Hardwick, Hollywood’s geek laureate, has been previewing Storm King’s Thunder, the latest prewritten campaign from D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast. “It’s become a kind-of spectator sport,” says Hardwick. “It hits every part of the nerdsphere you could want.”
And Geek & Sundry readers who are fans of Critical Role certainly understand how much fun it can be to watch talented people play Dungeons & Dragons.
Why do you think D&D is so hot right now? Let us know in the comments below!
All images courtesy Wizards of the Coast.